A urinary tract infection -- also called a UTI -- is a bacterial infection of the bladder. Symptoms associated with a UTI include frequent, urgent and painful urination. If you develop recurrent UTI symptoms, you may benefit from using an herbal supplement called goldenseal. Although additional research is needed, goldenseal, an herb derived from the Hydrastis canadensis plant, can help prevent the onset of UTI symptoms. Before taking goldenseal to prevent a UTI, seek additional guidance from your medical provider.
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Goldenseal is available over-the-counter in tablet, capsule, liquid extract and tincture preparations. Health professionals with the University of Maryland Medical Center recommend adults take 500- to 1,000-mg doses of goldenseal tablets or capsules up to three times daily. Alternatively, adults can take 30 to 120 mg of standardized extract or 2 to 3 mL of goldenseal tincture three times each day.
How It Works
Goldenseal contains an antimicrobial agent called berberine. Berberine helps prevent UTIs by interfering with the way bacteria adhere to the wall of your bladder. Despite this beneficial effect of goldenseal, this natural treatment shouldn't be used in place of an antibiotic to treat UTI symptoms. Without antibiotic treatment, a UTI may spread from your bladder up into your kidneys, which may cause severe and permanent kidney damage. If you develop UTI symptoms, seek care from a doctor.
While taking goldenseal, you may notice that your skin is more sensitive to sunlight -- a side effect called photosensitivity. For this reason, take extra care to protect your skin with clothing or sunscreen before venturing outdoors while taking goldenseal. Treatment with goldenseal may also cause mild stomach or oral irritation, especially if you take more than the recommended dosage of this natural supplement.
If you have certain health concerns, treatment with goldenseal may not be appropriate. Do not take this herbal treatment if you're pregnant or breast-feeding, because goldenseal may have negative effects on your developing baby. In addition, seek care from your doctor before using goldenseal if you have a personal history of high blood pressure or heart or liver disease.
If you are taking a medication that is metabolized by your liver, such as codeine, lovastatin and fexofenadine, using goldenseal may increase your risk of developing medication-induced side effects. Avoid taking goldenseal if you are using a blood thinner, such as aspirin or warfarin. Goldenseal may increase the effects of blood-thinning medications, thereby increasing your risk of developing bruising or bleeding problems. In addition, goldenseal may reduce the effectiveness of tetracycline antibiotics.